The Los Angeles Lakers will hold ceremonies to honor three of their all-time great players during the 2012-13 season, it was announced today.
In the first of these events, on Friday November 16, the Lakers and STAPLES Center will unveil a statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Star Plaza outside STAPLES Center. Kareem’s statue will join those of former Lakers Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Jerry West, former Kings hockey great Wayne Gretzky, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and former Lakers broadcaster Francis “Chick” Hearn.
On Friday December 28, in a half-time ceremony, the Lakers will retire jersey #52 in honor of Jamaal Wilkes, and on Tuesday April 2, will retire jersey #34 in honor of Shaquille O’Neal.
Abdul-Jabbar was a member of the Lakers from 1975-1989. He finished his career as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (38,287) a record that still stands today. His accolades include six NBA Championships (1971, 80, 82, 85, 87 and 88); six-time NBA MVP (1971, 72, 74, 76, 77 and 80); 10-time All-NBA First Team; Five-time All-Defensive first team; Six-time All-Defensive Second Team and 19-time All-Star. Abdul-Jabbar was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.
Wilkes was a member of the Lakers from 1977-1984. Wilkes finished his NBA career as a four-time NBA Champion (1975, 80, 82 and 85); three-time NBA All-Star (1976, 81, and 83); two-time All-Defensive Second Team and Rookie of the Year (1975). On April 2, 2012, Wilkes was announced as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class of 2012.
O’Neal was a member of the Lakers for eight seasons (1996-2004). During his career in Los Angeles, O’Neal was named NBA Most Valuable Player once (2000), Finals Most Valuable Player three times (2000, 2001, and 2002), All-NBA First Team on six occasions (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004) and NBA All-Star seven times. As a Laker, O’Neal posted averages of 27.0 points, 11.8 rebounds and 2.49 blocked shots while winning three NBA Championships (2000, 2001 and 2002). The NBA’s sixth leading scorer of all-time (28,596), O’Neal earned a fourth NBA Championship in 2006 as a member of the Miami Heat.